What you need to know if you're considering teeth straightening treatment

What you need to know if you're considering teeth straightening treatment
Photo credit: Invisalign

Gone are the days when the only way to straighten teeth was by using clunky metal braces. Now, not only is teeth straightening more common, but the evolution of clear aligners means the process can be virtually invisible.

However, despite the relative ease and user-friendliness of teeth-straightening products, the quality of different brands can vary widely, meaning it's important to be well-informed before beginning the process.

Newshub spoke to Emily McBurnie, Manager Clinical Education ANZ at Invisalign, a leading provider of removable clear aligners, to answer some common questions on the topic and set you straight.

What is Invisalign and how does it work?

"The Invisalign system is an orthodontic appliance for straightening teeth and correcting your bite," explains McBurnie.

" The Invisalign system uses a series of nearly transparent, custom-made plastic aligners backed by 25 years of research and development that put gentle constant force on your teeth to achieve movement that is comfortable and predictable."  You move from one aligner to the next every 1-2 weeks and the aligners gently move your teeth to achieve your new smile.

How is Invisalign different from fixed teeth straightening options?

"The biggest difference between Invisalign and fixed teeth straightening options is the fact that Invisalign aligners are removable - allowing you to eat, drink, brush and floss your teeth as normal. This doesn't just mean it's better for oral hygiene when compared to traditional braces, it also means you can continue to enjoy all your favourite foods and live your life pretty much as normal."

The aligners are also virtually invisible, meaning most of the time people won't even know you have them in at all.

"Unlike traditional fixed braces that can include unsightly fixed metal brackets and wires, Invisalign clear aligners are nearly invisible and much less noticeable, so are ideal for adults and teens who might be self-conscious of their appearance during treatment," says McBurnie.

Something else we often don’t think about is the convenience of clear aligners with far less chance of having to make an emergency appointment to see your dentist or orthodontist. Braces  have a habit of breaking over the weekend or when you're least expecting it. Carrying on with a wire sticking out or a loose bracket is very uncomfortable so you need to get back to the dentist or orthodontist as soon as you can, which can be inconvenient for your schedule.

Another difference is the digitalisation of the treatment process.

"Gone are the days of gloopy impressions," says McBurnie.

"A digital scan may be taken by your dentist or orthodontist using an intraoral scanner which is more pleasant than traditional impressions with goop in them, and you can see for yourself what they are looking at while they explain options to you. . Next, the Invisalign system utilises advanced digital technology guided by your dentist or orthodontist to develop your treatment plan. It also allows you to see a simulation of what your future smile might look like at the end of treatment and allows for the custom-made aligners to be manufactured based on that plan."

What you need to know if you're considering teeth straightening treatment
Photo credit: Invisalign

How long does treatment take and when can I hope to see results?

"Because everyone's teeth are different, so too is each treatment. That means there is no magic number for how long it takes to see results, although in a best-case scenario, some tooth movement could be seen as early as one week into treatment after you have worn your first aligner", explains McBurnie.

"Treatment time could be as little as four months for a mild correction or up to two years for more complex cases."

Is Invisalign treatment painful?

Although it may take a bit of getting used to your aligners, with some discomfort possible in the first few days, this is temporary and also a good sign your teeth are starting to move, says McBurnie.

"While all orthodontic treatment can have some discomfort associated, treatment with the Invisalign system is generally not considered painful and this is due to the low gentle force applied to your teeth by the Invisalign aligners," she adds.

Is Invisalign suitable for both children and adults?

While you will need to check with your dentist or orthodontist whether Invisalign is suitable for you, in general, the treatment can be performed on adults and children aged six years or older.

What questions should you be asking your health provider?

While Invisalign is more comfortable than traditional braces, it is still a medical procedure, so it's important to have a qualified dental professional examine your smile to determine the best treatment for you.

"Before commencing treatment your dentist or orthodontist will outline the treatment process for you, any potential risks associated with orthodontic treatment and how to care for your Invisalign aligners," explains McBurnie.

"Additional questions to ask before starting could include, Will I need attachments or elastics and when will these be placed? Will I need to have any dental treatment before commencing Invisalign treatment? Is whitening my teeth an option during treatment?

Is virtual monitoring a possibility for your treatment ? This is having the opportunity to take pictures of your treatment progression each week for both you and your dentist or orthodontist to monitor. And finally, what are the options for retention after finishing your Invisalign treatment?"

To find out more about Invisalign's Be Clear on the Facts campaign, including a checklist of questions to ask your dentist or orthodontist at your first consultation to ensure you get the right treatment, visit the website here


 Article created in partnership with Invisalign.